February 18, 2019

Quake victim not told about asbestos for three months

Quake victim not told about asbestos for three months

Published: 6:19AM Saturday February 15, 2014 Source: ONE News

A Christchurch homeowner is outraged that positive results from asbestos testing at his home were not passed on to him until months after they were available.

The slip-up has been slammed by health officials and has drawn an apology from those responsible.

Tom Davies has lived in his now “badly damaged” home through almost 13,000 earthquakes.

But until recently he was unaware that he did so with the threat of deadly asbestos right above him. He showed ONE News where his ceiling was drilled for asbestos tests.

EQR, who manage Earthquake Commission repairs, ordered testing in October last year. Documents show that the positive results were known on October 22 and the information was forwarded to EQR the following day.

“One would’ve thought that if there is asbestos in the property, or asbestos in the area, that they would tell you immediately,” Mr Davies says.

They didn’t, and in fact Mr Davies was not told until January 27, three months after the results were known.

“They should be getting in touch with them promptly and offering them options to move out,” says Dr Alistair Humphrey, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health.

In a statement, Fletchers EQR admit that there was an error in communication. They say it is their policy to contact homeowners as quickly as possible. However they deny that there was any heightened risk to occupants.

Experts are advising Mr Davies not to take any chances, until he’s sure his home is safe.

“My advice and our advice always to anyone living in a home where there is friable asbestos is get out as fast as you can,” says Dr Humphrey.

Mr Davies is not sure his insurance company would pay for him to move.

I am paying a mortgage on this house. Could I afford a rental on top of a mortgage? I’m not sure that I could just at the moment.”

The long-term future for the house is looking better with the asbestos scheduled to be removed.

The long term effect on Tom Davies’ health, however, remains to be seen.

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    Quake victim not told about asbestos for three months

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